How To Train Your Dragon 2
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington, Kieron Elliott, Randy Thom, and more.
Directed by: Dean DeBlois Written by: Dean DeBlois Based on the "How To Train Your Dragon" book series by: Cressida Cowell Music by: John Powell
Premise: Five years after the village of Berk embraced having dragons as friends, the village stands transformed by this new era of peace. Hiccup, however, is still trying to figure out who he is and what he wants, especially after his father approaches him about declaring to the village the fact Hiccup will become their chief in future and begin his training. But Hiccup pushes his concerns aside when he and Astrid come across a band of men trying to capture dragons for Drago, who is building a vast dragon army. They also tell Hiccup he's not the first dragon rider they've met - making him realize there are more than those of Berk out there. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Jay Baruchel is delightful as he reprises his role as the peace and dragon loving Hiccup. Wit and snark are served with fun aplomb by Kristen Wiig, Christophjer Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller, and Jonah Hill. Gerard Butler will make you cry as he tries to woo back the person he'd thought lost to him forever.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks continues to show their ever expanding skills in the animation field. With their efforts and the added 3D functionality, everything had texture, including human skin. The vibrant colors of the dragons were as dazzling as crystals during several scenes.
Of particular beauty and cool effect were the scenes where Hiccup encounters the masked dragon rider and when he sees the protected dragon area. On the human side, the attention to detail on the ships and other common objects was quite impressive and even helped set the mood in a couple of locations.
Great care was taken in the formation of facial expressions, as in several spots that is solely what the audience has to go on. They were all easy to read and did much to elevate the watcher's emotional involvement.
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've not read the series the movie is based on, though my nieces insist much was changed. But for those only acquainted with the DreamWorks version, I think you'll be quite happy with this new installment.
Five years have passed from the time of the original film and all the kids have grown to different extents. The boys have definitely started noticing the girls and vice versa. It's background and comedic material, though in other ways it does permeate one branch of the main plot.
There are several very moving scenes, some of which will grab you unexpectedly. So, if movies make you cry, make sure to come prepared for this one.
Lots of cute or funny moments. Watching Hiccup and Toothless cavort around and play is always fun to watch. The subplot of Hiccup's Mom was nicely done. Drago though, didn't really have much depth. I would have loved to hear the tale of how exactly he got hold of his grand prize.
Conclusion: "How To Train Your Dragon 2" was a lot of fun and definitely worth watching. It will also tug at the heart strings. Beautiful animation made even more fun by the 3D.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again)